In our last blog entitled, “How do I open a cannabis retail store in Ontario? (Part 1)”, we covered the first three steps to opening a cannabis retail store: notice to the local government, fire authority, and police force; obtaining a Retail Operator Licence; and obtaining a Cannabis Retail Store Authorization. This Part 2 will cover the last three steps: obtaining a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence, obtaining a supply purchase contract with the Ontario Canada Retail Store; and obtaining a security clearance and completing mandatory training, as well as the rules and regulations that apply to cannabis retail.
Cannabis Retail Manager Licence
Every cannabis retail store must have a licenced Retail Manager, unless the person who holds the Retail Operator Licence is a sole proprietor or is in a partnership with one or more individuals and will also perform the duties of the Retail Manager.
Every person who performs any of the following duties must obtain a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence: (i) supervising or managing employees; (ii) managing the sale of cannabis; (iii) managing compliance issues relating to the sale of cannabis; (iv) buying cannabis for the store; and/or (v) entering into contracts for the store.
To obtain and maintain a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence, you must:
- be at least 19 years of age;
- act in compliance with the law and with integrity, honesty, and in the public interest;
- not be convicted or charged with certain offences or have carried on activities not in compliance with the Cannabis Licence Act, Cannabis Control Act, or Cannabis Act;
- not have had roles or connections with a criminal organization, as defined in s. 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada; and
- not have made a false statement or provided false information on your application.
You must wait two (2) years to apply for a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence if you (i) applied for a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence or a renewal of a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence in the past but were refused, or (ii) you had a Cannabis Retail Manager Licence that was revoked.
Supply purchase contract with the Ontario Cannabis Retail Store (OCS)
A cannabis retail store may only sell cannabis obtained through the OCS. For more information on entering into a wholesale supply agreement with the OCS, visit email@example.com or call 1-888-910-0627.
Security Clearance and Training
Before you can open and operate a cannabis retail store, each of the following persons must obtain a security clearance:
- the Retail Operator licensee;
- the person designated by the Retail Operator licensee to bind the Retail Operator licensee responsible for activities conducted under the Retail Operator Licence. This person must have sufficient knowledge of the provisions of the Cannabis Act and regulations that apply to the Retail Operator licensee. The Retail Operator licensee may also designate an alternative responsible person to replace the responsible person, if need be. The alternative responsible person must also obtain a security clearance;
- the Head of Security who is responsible for ensuring that the security measures set out in the Cannabis Act regulations and the organizational security plan of the Retail Operator licensee is in place;
- if a corporation holds the Retail Operator Licence, all directors and officers of the corporation, partners in a partnership, and any other individuals who do/can exercise control over the corporation;
- If a cooperative holds the Retail Operator Licence, all directors and officers of the cooperative, partners in a partnership, and any other individuals who do/can exercise control over the cooperative; and
- If a partnership holds the Retail Operator Licence, all directors, and officers of a corporation or cooperative, partners of a partnership, and any other individuals who do/can exercise control over the partnership.
In addition, everyone who works in a cannabis retail store must successfully complete a mandatory AGCO Board-approved training program before their first day of work. This includes every holder of a Retail Store Authorization or Cannabis Retail Manager Licence and every employee of the store.
Rules and regulations
Retail cannabis stores in Ontario are subject to the Registrar’s Standards for Cannabis Retail Stores and to the following Acts and their corresponding regulations: (i) the Cannabis Act (Canada); (ii) the Cannabis Control Act (Ontario); (iii) the Cannabis Licence Act (Ontario); (iv) and the Criminal Code. The legislation sets out requirements for a variety of subjects such as: (i) reporting and disclosure; (ii) store location; (iii) timing for beginning to sell cannabis; (iv) business hours; (v) retail seals; (vi) posting a Retail Store Authorization; (vii) record keeping; (viii) making information available to patrons; (ix) requesting ID from patrons; (x) hiring employees; (xi) displays; (xii) storage of cannabis and edibles; (xiii) building filtration; (xiv) cannabis packaging and labelling; (xv) contamination and sanitation; (xvi) quality assurance; (xvii) ingredients in edibles; (xviii) cannabis accessories; (xix) dispensing limits; and (xx) promotion and advertising. For a summary of these requirements, see the AGCO Cannabis Retail Guide.
Depending on the business activities in which they are engaged, certain applicants, licence/authorization holders, store owners, and employees, may also be subject to other Acts and their corresponding regulations, such as the Food and Drugs Act (FDA), the Pest Control Products Act (PCPA), the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA) and the Fertilizers Act.